Michael Wehmeyer, Ph.D

Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D.

Michael Wehmeyer

Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D. is the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education and Associate Chairperson, Department of Special Education; and Director and Senior Scientist, Beach Center on Disability within the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, all at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Wehmeyer has directed externally funded projects totaling in excess of $33 million conducting research and model development activities and personnel and leadership preparation activities pertaining to the education and support of youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  He is the author or co-author of 385 peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters and has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 36 books on disability and education related issues, including issues pertaining to self-determination, positive psychology and disability, transition to adulthood, the education and inclusion of students with severe disabilities, and technology use by people with cognitive disabilities.  He is co-author of the widely used textbook Exceptional Lives:  Special Education in Today’s Schools, published by Merrill/Prentice Hall, now in its 8th Edition.  Dr. Wehmeyer is Past-President of the Board of Directors for and a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD); a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT); a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division (Div. 33); and Past-Vice-President for the Americas and a Fellow of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD).  He is a member of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars-Alpha Pi chapter (University of Kansas) and an honorary alumni inductee of Phi Beta Kappa Arts and Sciences Honor Society-Beta of Oklahoma chapter (University of Tulsa).  He is former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remedial and Special Education and is a founding Co-Editor of the AAIDD journal Inclusion.  He is a co-author of the AAIDD Supports Intensity Scale and the 2010 AAIDD Intellectual Disability Terminology, Classification, and Systems of Supports Manual.  Dr. Wehmeyer has been recognized for his research and service with awards from numerous associations and organizations, including, recently, the American Psychological Association Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of Disability Issues in Psychology Award, the AAIDD Research Award for contributions that have contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Distinguished Researcher Award for lifetime contributions to research in intellectual disability by The Arc of the United States, and the Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award from the CEC Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and the CEC Special Education Research Award recipient for 2016. From 2010 to 2011, Dr. Wehmeyer was the Gene A. Budig Teaching Professor in Special Education in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas and in 2015 received the Higuchi-KU Endowment Balfour S. Jefferey Award   given “in recognition of research achievement in the humanities and social sciences to an individual who may be described as having had a major and substantial impact and who has been of national and/or international interest.”  Dr. Wehmeyer holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Special Education from the University of Tulsa and a Masters degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, where he was a Rotary International Fellow from 1987 to 1988.  He earned his Ph.D. in Human Development and Communication Sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he received a 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Investigator, Beach Center on Disability,
Beach Center on Disability

Distinguished Professor,
School of Education

Ph.D. Human Development & Communication Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas

Contact Information


Research Interests

Self-determination, education of students with intellectual/developmental disabilities, access to the general curriculum for students with significant disabilities, and technology use and people with intellectual disabilities.

Recent Publications

Wehmeyer, M.L. (2015).  Framing for the future: Self-determination.  Remedial and Special Education, 36(1), 20-23.

Shogren, K.A., Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S.B., Rifenbark, G. & Little, T. (2015).  Relationships between self-determination and postschool outcomes for youth with disabilities.  Journal of Special Education, 48(4), 256-267.

Shogren, K.A., Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S.B., Forber-Pratt, A., Little, T., & Lopez, S. (2015).  Causal Agency Theory:  Reconceptualizing a functional model of self-determination.  Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 50(3), 251-263.

Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S., Shogren, K., Williams-Diehm, K., & Soukup, J. (2012).  Establishing a causal relationship between interventions to promote self-determination and enhanced student self-determination.  Journal of Special Education, 46(4), 195 – 210

Wehmeyer, M.L., Shogren, K., Palmer, S., Williams-Diehm, K., Little, T., & Boulton, A. (2012).  The impact of the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction on student self-determination.  Exceptional Children, 78(2), 135-153.


Presentations ( )